Tag Archives: traditional

Wodka From Warington

 

No, I haven’t taken to the bottle, but as going to Warrington is something of a rarity for me, I just thought I would quote the old Smirnoff advert.

As usual The Bitch (my GPS) wanted us to go the wrong way, if we are going south it always sends us north, and tonight when we wanted to turn right on the A483 heading north, she said turn left. So as usual I ignored her and turned the radio up. As we got onto the M6 however she seemed to have learned where we were and was telling me to take the left hand lane, trouble is the very left lane would have taken me to Lymm. I pity anyone who has to rely totally on these things. When we left the motorway I now had to rely totally on her and she was,I am Sure, sending me the wrong way. We needed to be on the right hand side of the M6 and we were turning left. However I followed directions for once and soon we had crossed over the motorway and we were safely deposited outside the Croft Memorial Hall.

When we entered things did not look good. We were unfashionably early, as predicted traffic jams had all evaporated and we had made good time. The only people in the hall were Jo, the organised and Chris the DJ.

We knew Chris of old, we have seen him at many of the workshops we had been to around Manchester, but even further back he was one of the original gang who used to meet at Zumbar’s in the last century. (makes it sound so much more long ago)

We each had a dance card to fill in, completed cards could be entered later into a raffle. So Viv and I danced alone, but not for long, James and Phillipa soon arrived. While I danced with Phillipa Chris asked about the music, I like to give a balanced view and said one of the tracks I found a little slow (for a beginner slow music is so much harder to dance) of course then I had to back track, as the music was fine and I did not want him changing anything on my behalf.

Soon more people arrived and I was overjoyed when first Nuala and Damien arrived and then Jean and Albert, some of my favourite people from the Wilmslow crowd. Another old friend was Jan, who was another of  the Zumbar’s gang. In all there were about a dozen people now, not enough for a crowded milonga but as this was the first, I am sure in time word will spread and the popularity will grow. I was however disappointed that Dino was not here, I had been told that he was DJing and I was looking forward to meeting his new wife.

There were not enough people to fill the dance cards though, so on the second dance we used peoples middle names. Anyone now looking at those cards would wonder where all the people were.

Our DJ did have some interesting music, there was flyer on each table explaining his reasons, so OK a bit of fun music was alright, there were afterall only four of us from the tango police so as this was not our place, I won’t criticise the odd bit of new stuff, we did afterall have a very enjoyable night. The only reason I mention it is to say, the floor was always full when the traditional tango was played, not so when there was other stuff on. Nothing really imposed on us and occasionally it was good to have a rest. One track he played  I really enjoyed “Mujeres Feas” by Enrique Rodriguez and Armando Moreno you can listen to it here along with a translation. http://www.getacd.org/listen_XWRVpuybPnM/mujeres_feas_enrique_rodriguez_y_armando_moreno_ugly_women I will be looking out for this, perhaps it will be on my shopping list for our next visit to Buenos Aires.

As all good things must come to an end, we prepared to go and Jo did the raffle, Viv went and won the Cava. It is now added to my collection of sparkling wines, one night I am going to have a really good time. A noche me emborracho.

All in all, it was a shame that there were not more people there, but I have a feeling that word will spread. Jo has promised more, and I am sure people will realise that they missed a good night and will not want to miss it again.

WATCH THE EVENTS POSTS FOR MORE.

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Shrewsbury debating society

No, I am not moving away from tango again. Shrewsbury continues to be a great venue, but the after tango drink has become almost as important as the dancing.

We arrive late as usual, and miss most of the beginners class. Not really a problem for us, but we are still early enough for Sharon to call on Viv to demonstrate in the class. During the between class practica I make a point of dancing with a few of the new starters. A thing that I am finding more and more, is that the newcomers are filled with terror when I dance with them. I really do not know how to ease this, I try of course, by telling them if they “go wrong” then it is probably my fault, I just don’t think they believe me. I will come back to this later.

In the main class we did a bit more of Sharon’s whoosh, again many tried to make it more complex than it was. She was very patient with everyone and eventually they all got it. Cross system walking seems to give everyone a problem, I noticed that all the women (not picking on them, it’s just that I did not dance with the men) had difficulty dissociating on the closed side, they were fine on the open side, why is this I wonder?

We danced through untill the end, I tried as usual to get round as many as I could, not just my favourites, but I am afraid I still missed a few. Too soon it was time to depart for The Coracle, from now on to be known as The Shrewsbury Debating Society.

As usual the conversation revolves around dancing and interestingly we spoke of a party that a few here had attended; the pressure to hold the line of dance has become so strong from the tango that people were disco dancing in the line of dance.

Mike then came up with a classic line, he said ” I never could waltz, but I moved around the room in a waltz like way, and the women loved it”. You have to admire him for trying, but isn’t this what we do in tango? When you stop worrying about the steps and simply move around the room in a tango like way, you relax, you feel better and more confident, and the women love it, they do not know if you learned that move with Giraldo Whatshisname or Estoban Thingy, they simply enjoy your movement (provided of course it is to the music).

Talking of the music, do we give the customer what he wants? I had a customer ask for Gotan next week, I of course was horrified. The camp splits a bit here, I must admit, but, if you are to dance traditional tango you need to know where the music is going. Traditional tango music follows a set pattern, we know what is coming, and we have a beat we can follow. If we start playing modern music that does not follow the pattern, then it will confuse the beginners, annoy the traditionalists and drive away those people who dance for the music. Maybe we will lose on or two of the avant garde, but in the end I hope we will keep a solid group of people who love tango for what its own sake and not as a means to show off.

Back to the frightened women, we discussed this quite fully. I as a leader often feel when leading a more experienced dancer, that perhaps she is bored with my lack of moves, so I am not surprised that some of the beginners feel nervous. We all have our crises of confidence, the only thing we can do for each other is be a little forgiving, don’t try to put everyone’s faults to right, we all need time. Teaching on the dance floor is also a good way to shake someones confidence as well as upsetting the rest of the floor. Again my own experience here is what I draw on, when we were at the first Tangomagia in Amsterdam we had little experience even though we had been at it about three years, my shifts allowed me little time to go to classes. Nobody had any patience (except the teachers, who were great) very soon I came to the point where I would not change partners, when the teacher said change Viv and I stuck like glue. Did this benefit the women the who thought that they were so great? I think not, it certainly did not do me any good, because again my confidence was shattered. I now am at the point where I realise that there are those who think they are great, and those who are great, and I think that the two are mutually exclusive.  So if someone thinks that they are too good for you, it is probably the other way around. Women, I will say again if you cannot follow, then the man obviously cannot lead, simples.

The final debate of the night moved on to women’s lib (womens lib from tango???) probably my fault, and as usual when something controversial comes up I was lucky to escape with my life, but hey we all choose our own way to live dangerously, and I am still here to tell the tale. It was time to make a quick exit.

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Last Tango in Shrewsbury (for this year)

Back again at The Lantern, for the Christmas milonga. As next Thursday is Christmas day this was the last one of the year.

In keeping with the new traditional thing, I turned up in a suit (very milonguero) unfortunately it was not long before I was too hot and had to remove my jacket. For my Argentine readership I should point out that it had been below freezing point the last few days, and for me this was a welcome change.

Again everyone had made an effort and the night went very well. A couple who teach in Warwick had turned up to see what the scene was like here, Ricardo and Sue I think their names were. They had started their Tango in Edinburgh with Ricardo and Jenny so imediately we had some common ground. I think that they enjoyed the night, although the level is still mainly beginners. Hopefully they will turn up again some time. They were on some kind of national tour as Ricardo had told Viv about the other places that they were to visit, I am still curious as to why they selected Shrewsbury, as it is on the same night as Wilmslow.

We had badgered some friends to come as well, and although they arrived late they also seemed to enjoy the night. I think the fact that the women are all followers and the music is important helps make this night.

I again though met up with the same problems; many of the women with whome I danced had been learning figures and could not walk properly never mind follow a basic giro. Hopefully I straightened a few problems out, with me ending up just walking around the room with them.

After all the beginners it was nice to dance with Sue. We started of just walking as always, but we soon got the feel and it gave me a chance to try out a few things which I could never expect the beginners to follow. I tried to lead the cadena and it just did not work, again there is no point blaming the woman, obviously my lead is not yet right although on the plus side she did understand what I was trying to do.

This is the ever present problem, the only more advanced dancer that I regularly dance with is Viv, and by now she knows what I am going to do almost before I do, and so my lead does not improve.

Still it was nice to try some volcadas and other things with someone new, Viv also had a chance to dance with Ricardo and as she knows all my repertoire it is nice for her to be doing something new as well.

It is always a good crowd here I look forward to seeing some of them again New Years Day.

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Chester Milonga

This tradition thing is catching on; Mondays class was dedicated to learning how a Milonga works, and the traditional music.

Sharon had a basic class at the beginning, where we learned a simple step that would allow the beginners to keep moving around the room. After this some time was spent on the etiquette. No overtaking, no walking across the floor, no back steps, and no stopping the flow, to teach a move that was not followed because you could not lead it. 

This is my favourite bug bear, if a woman does not follow what I have led, and asks what should I have done, I always respond “just follow” if she does not get it I will try again later, modifying my lead until she does. There is nothing worse than someone stopping the flow with both parties in a couple looking at the floor, trying to do something that is obviously beyond them. It is, ok, to just walk to the music.

OK back off my soap box; We were arranged around the room, men one side and women the other, eye contact being the only form of request allowed. Again I must admit to walking up to one or two women to ask them to dance, as they were too busy talking to catch my eye.

The music was kept traditional and arranged in tandas. I liked the choice of Aker Bilk as a cortina.

Sharon has taken a few photographs and has promised to forward them to me, I in turn promise to post some of them here as soon as I have them.

I cannot end without a note to say that all the women had made a special effort and were all beautiful, there was not one there that I would not have been proud to have on my arm.

Una cosa mas, as they say in Buenos Aires, I would be glad to hear of anyone who would like a regular Milonga in the Chester Area. If I do organise anything it would have to be irregular, maybe once a month. My shift working prevents me doing something on a weekly basis, that is unless someone else comes in with me.

I think that the size of the crowd we have at present, a weekly Milonga would anyway be unsustainable, at the moment. But any ideas or offers are welcome, lets get something moving.

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Dave Bassett

I had to think long and hard about the title for this post. I did consider “At Last”, or “Traditional”, but in the end I thought, let the credit go to the man who brought this about.

Some of you may know Dave from his work at the Butter Market in Shrewsbury, he has for many years organised Salsa events and has only very recently come to Tango.

He has arrived on the scene with passion and a determination to bring traditional tango to this part of the world, and we now have a regular Milonga playing traditional music.

We first heard about the Lantern at the Upton Magna workshops where we again met Dave. The distance and my shifts make it difficult to attend regularly, but yesterday (Thursday) we made it. It has to be said that the Lantern is not the easiest of places to find and when we finally got there, there was some confusion as to how we get in.

The room was light and modern with the usual plastic chairs around the perimeter. The floor was excellent, a modern beech planked floor highly polished and wonderful to dance on with just the right amount of slip.

A suprise to me, was the fact that most of the dancers were beginners, but nobody was learning figures. Everyone was happy to be able to move around the room and feel the music.

I will definitely be returning, possibly on the eighteenth, but dates are never certain, it all depends how my life goes.

So at last we have a Milonga, traditional tango music, in a nice venue. I hope that this is the start of something bigger, maybe there will someday be a Milonga nearer Wrexham or Chester. I understand the need for classes but for once there is somewhere we can just dance.

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Sex change?

Sharon’s workshop, with Ruth Zimmerman went realy well. There was a real mixed bag of dancers and that is always dificult for teachers. Ruth concentrated more on musicality and did nothing of the exotic figures we see more and more of. The venue at Upton Magna is realy nice, shame it is not more accesible, but then I suppose it would get more use and not be avaiable for us.

Strangely there were again more men than women, this gave me a chance to take the class as a follower. I always enjoy this, there is a kind of freedom in just doing what is asked. Changing partners caused confusion, women kept coming to me, and I would say I am a woman (amazing what science can do today).

I am afraid however I did put some men off, as not listening to teacher only my partner is not something most men are used to. If they lead it I followed, even if it was not what  Ruth asked. On the rare ocasion that I take a class this is something I try to promote, ladies if your leader is to lead, then you must follow. If he does not do exactly as the teacher has shown your job is not to correct him but to follow.

Tango is a conversation, this does not mean an argument. When the man gives a lead he must give the lady time to follow and, if she wishes decorate. The best way to prove that your leader is “doing it wrong” is to follow what he has led and when he says why did you do that, simply reply because you led it.

The milonga that followed the class also went very well. I am afraid we were not best prepared and had to leave early  for food. I am also afraid we did not thank Sharon and Ruth as we got caught up in conversation as we were about to leave.

It seems that there is now a new venue in Shrewsbury dedicated to traditional tango. Shrewsbury is outside our normal circle, but I will make a point of travelling down there and test it out when I have more details.  I will keep you posted.

I have not yet had any comments, Is anybody out there? I would love to know what you think.

One last thing, I hope to see you all at the Groves on Monday night, who knows I may again get the chance to follow.

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